Known in India as atibala, this tender perennial shrub is native to tropical and subtropical areas where it grows in disturbed sites. It is a member of the mallow family, Malvaceaea, that also includes hibiscus, okra, and cotton. Plants grow 4-8′ tall from a long tap root and have leaves up to 4″ long that are usually shallowly 3-lobed and hairy. They are broadly ovate to heart-shaped, have coarsely toothed margins, and are carried on long petioles. The yellow chalice-like flowers are about 1″ wide and are carried singly in the leaf axils over a long bloom time in summer. Although attractive in a tropical or subtropical garden, the plants can become weedy if conditions are optimal. Various parts of the plants are valued for their medicinal properties and used for such purposes as a laxative, sedative, and anti-inflammatory. The genus name, Abutilon, is the Arabic word for a mallow-like plant. The specific epithet, indicum, refers to India, a geographic site of the plant.
Type: Tender shrub
Outstanding Feature:Medicinal properties
Form: Irregular vase-shaped
Growth Rate: Moderate
Bloom: Chalice-shaped yellow flowers in leaf axils over a long bloom season
Size: 4-8′ H
Light:Full sun to part shade
Soil: Fertile, medium moist, well-drained
Hardiness: Zones 9-10
Care: Control spread if necessary
Pests and Diseases: None of significance
Propagation: Seed, stem cuttings
Abutilon Indicum or Indian mallow is a perennial plant which has downy branches and hair on them. This under-shrub reaches a height of 1-1.5 meters. The leaves are simple, alternate, stipulate, broadly ovate, cordate at base, and 1.9 -5 cm long. They are also acute, irregularly and coarsely dentate. They have long petioles of 2.5-7.5 cm length.
Flowers are regular, orange-yellow, and bisexual, solitary and axillary with 2.5 cm diameter. The sepals are five in number with 5 fused lobes, and cup-shaped calyx. Lobes are shallow and apiculate. The ovary is superior and 10-capillary style. It has long tap roots.
Abutilon indicum (Indian abutilon, Indian mallow) is a small shrub in the family Malvaceae, native to tropic and subtropical regions and sometimes cultivated as an ornamental. It is found in Tamil Nadu. This plant is often used as a medicinal plant and is considered invasive on certain tropical islands. Its roots and leaves are used for curing fever.
Common name: Indian Mallow, Country Mallow, Abutilon, Indian abutilon • Hindi: कंघी Kanghi • Marathi: पेटारी Petari • Tamil: Paniyaratutti • Malayalam: വെല്ലുരമ് Velluram • Telugu: Tuturabenda • Kannada: Tutti • Bengali: পোটারী Potari
Synonyms: Sida indica, Abutilon asiaticum, Abutilon arborescens
Medicinal uses: Extract of water-soaked dried seeds is used as purgative. Leaves are used as tonic. Roots are taken as infusion in fever.